A primary goal of Our Work Together, Lakeside’s equity and inclusion initiative is to “Increase the racial/ethnic diversity of the faculty, administrators, and trustees through focused recruitment, hiring, and retention strategies.” A diverse teaching faculty is important because research shows that students of color benefit from having teachers who share their racial backgrounds. A diverse adult community brings a variety of perspectives to the table and provides students with role models who represent a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.
Lakeside is taking a variety of steps to increase the racial/ethnic diversity of our faculty, including a strategic use of social media and attending diversity hiring fairs around the country. Another major undertaking is co-hosting a regional diversity career fair, similar to fairs held elsewhere in the country.
On Feb. 6, the second annual Independent School Diversity Career Fair hosted nearly 100 attendees from around the country as they connected with administrators and diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners from regional schools. Lakeside hosted the virtual career fair in partnership with 23 other schools and there was no cost to attend. “Through sharing information and opportunities for individuals of color interested in working in regional independent schools, we aim to reflect the rich and diverse communities in the Northwest,” remarks Assistant Director of Equity and Inclusion Debbie Bensadon.
Attendees were welcomed by Bensadon and Director of Human Resources Sara Skinner, before breaking into small groups led by diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioners from participating schools. Practitioners shared their own experiences and answered questions about working in independent schools. Following the small group Q&As, schools managed individual rooms, which allowed attendees to move between breakout rooms to speak with representatives from each school and learn about current opportunities.
The career fair grew in size in its second year, with a significant increase in the number of attendees and the addition of six schools. “We definitely consider these first two years to have been a success,” shares Bensadon. “Hosting the fair supports the relationships we have with regional schools and allows us to be accessible to qualified and interested candidates from all over the country. Our community has absolutely benefited from the connections we’ve made through our involvement.”
The school’s work in recruitment, hiring, and retention is part of the larger equity and inclusion efforts captured in Our Work Together. We recently updated the dashboard for Our Work Together, to recap actions we’ve taken to move us closer to accomplishing goal 1. Find the updates on the Our Work Together dashboard, under “Goal 1.”